Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hayden Prairie

We headed south last week, a few miles into northwest Iowa. Near Lime Springs is a remnant of Americas frontier past. A 500 acre plot of never tilled land. Its called Hayden Prairie.
Named after Ada Hayden, who was the first woman to receive a doctorate at Iowa State College (now called Iowa State University). Her doctorate was earned in 1918, making her the fourth student, male or female, to obtain a Ph.D. at Iowa State College. In 1920 she was appointed Assistant Professor of Botany at Iowa State. Teaching probably occupied a great deal of her time until 1934, when her appointment was changed to a research position in the Agriculture Experiment Station.
She devoted herself to prairie preservation and research. She wrote 29 papers, most dealing with Iowa flora. She campaigned for a system of prairie preserves.

You have to get up close and personal to spot the hundreds of different wildflowers, as they change with each passing season. Naturally, I brought my binoculars so I didn't miss any. On this particular day I was specifically looking for gray-headed coneflowers. Also sunflowers were on my list as I heard there were hundreds maybe thousands of varieties. Now where are they?
Perhaps Baron might spot a few. He has a nose for finding things.
Wait somebody else in on the path. It's Joe Pye(weed)!















Putting my binocs down I noticed the gray-headed coneflowers all around me. And stretching far into the distance.












Walking further down the path, I saw a bunch of blazing stars... and its wasn't even dark yet!

Although full professor status was denied her, and she received little public recognition for her accomplishments, she continued to work for what she believed in until her death in 1950. During her time at Iowa State, she collected over 30,000 plant specimens for the herbarium and also sent many duplicates to other institutions.

Hayden Prairie is a remarkable place and its naming is a fitting tribute to a remarkable woman. Way to go Iowa!

22 comments:

  1. Nice tribute to a remarkable woman. I wonder what she would think of our prairies now. The prairie is diminishing along with the native grasses and wildflowers. We need someone like her now days to champion for their restoration.

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  2. I've often thought of turning my almost 4 acre yard into a wildflower meadow. I've heard it takes a little more than just scattering a bunch of seeds. But I know the benefits of planting native wildflowers would eventually outweigh the burden of all the mowing I do! My hat's off to Ms. Ada, a remarkable woman indeed!

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  3. Very nice. I'm intrigued. Too bad that is so far from NE Minnesota.

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  4. This looks like a wonderful place to visit. And I'm almost positive you've posted on this prairie before... So glad you were able to finally find those gray-headed coneflowers! lol.

    Ms. Hayden was way ahead of her time, wasn't she? It seems that we take so much for granted until it's nearly gone. Things don't change much in that regard, do they?

    But I'm happy to say that I belive there's a resurgence in interest in the preservation of the few remaining true prairies as well as in the establishment of new ones. I know several people (and of others) that are passionate about the subject. :-)

    Thanks for the post!

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  5. Nice. I enjoyed the history lesson. I am sure I would never have known she had existed if I had not read this entry. Thanks. I wonder what natural wonders my grandchildren will have to enjoy? How crowded will the nature preserves be? Will there be clean water and healthy air for them? Will we have run them so far in debt that they cannot enjoy the good life that we have enjoyed because the government cannot afford to maintain the parks and forests? Hmmm.

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  6. Great tribute to an incredibly brilliant woman --who was WAY ahead of her time...

    Great wildflowers, TB... BUT--IF I walked in all of those high grasses, I'd have chigger bites from head to toe. Is that just a southern thing????

    Betsy

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  7. I JUST got done reading "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan-it was on the dustbowl years and it's causes....mainly the devastating effects of tearing up the prairie to plant crops. I wonder if at the time she made the connection and tried to warn, as did so many others. Interesting post-thank you!

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  8. What a trailblazer she must have been. :c) What a beautiful place to visit.

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  9. A tip of the coffee mug this morning to a true pioneer. Way to go, Ada Hayden!

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  10. Very interesting post and thought provoking. I think our prairies have changed considerably since her days, and not for the better. Very sad.

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  11. Gee, wish I lived closer...this sounds like a place I would love to spend the afternoon perusing!! She sounded like a neat person...who knew..until you shared all of this..thanks!

    Good you had those binocs!!

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  12. Great post, TB! I wonder if she was in any way related to the great Ferdinand Hayden, for whom the great Hayden Valley was named at our favorite National Park?

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  13. TB,
    re: fl island..I am now in the process of booking my two weeks on Sanibel. Condos are going fast..which I've never run into before?? ..looks like I will be taking the last 2 wks in Jan. Usually we do the first two in Feb but everyone is feeling the crunch on the ole wallet..and rates on most condos jump as of Feb 1 on Sanibel and Captiva. I think you would LOVE seeing all the places mentioned by ecobirder, tho...lots to see and do and usually the weather is quite cooperative.
    Hope you make your way down.. :)

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  14. I am putting Hayden Prairie on my wish list of places I hope to see someday. I didn't know there was a place that hadn't been tilled. This is a rare treasure. Also, I have not yet found a blazing star anywhere in my wanderings in central MN. Glad to know they are still out there.

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  15. I need to get down there again--maybe yet this summer now that it's cooled down a bit again. Do they allow people to collect seeds?

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  16. Very informative.
    As an Australian and not familiar with your country,I found Montanagirl's comment also interesting.

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  17. I am so glad you took your binocs with you TB or else you might have lost Baron too and never found him again. :)

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  18. thanks for the lesson on miss hayden, i had never heard of her before..

    nature is a beautiful thing!

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  19. Wow, this is incredible! What a beautiful piece of native prairie, thanks to Ada Hayden's efforts.

    Her story was a common one. I once researched the graduate students of entomologist James G. Needham. Many of them were women, taking PhDs c. 1910-40. Many could not even get academic jobs. JG's son Paul became a trout stream expert, prof at U Cal.

    PS: The only reason we can catch a lot of trout in places like the Big Hole is because they are there--thanks to the efforts of conservationists/environmentalists like Hayden and George Grant.

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  20. Stories like yours about Ms. Hayden get me to thinking. Would most "environmentalists" today be willing to work like she did for little or no compensation/recognition, just for the sake of doing what's right and necessary? Thanks for posting about her, TB!

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  21. Ms. Hayden's story was so very interesting. Wish there were more true good stewards of the land like her around today. Thank you for putting her story out there.

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  22. An amazing woman and an amazing place. It's a tragedy what has happened to our prairies.....

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